×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Order of Chaos

A predictable, unconvincing and overly flashy mix of character study and psychological thriller.

With:
With: Rhys Coiro, Milo Ventimiglia, Samantha Mathis, Susan Ward, Maggie Kiley, Chip Jolsen, Anna Campbell, Mimi Rogers.

Thesp Vincent Vieluf’s writing-directing debut “Order of Chaos” is a slick but strained mix of character study and psychological thriller about a lawyer unraveling under ambiguously real or imagined pressure. At once predictable, unconvincing and over-flashy, the pic reps a fairly ambitious first shot that falls short, but shouldn’t deter Vieluf from honing his behind-camera skills further. Pic opened Feb. 12 on a single L.A. screen; further theatrical prospects are slim, though tube-familiar leads should help secure decent DVD and cable exposure.

Verified workaholic John (Rhys Coiro of “24 and Entourage”) is right-hand man — aka “lapdog” — to hard-driving Miss Craig (Mimi Rogers) at her high-end tax law firm, enduring brusque criticisms and demands without even private complaint. At home, he also seems rather dominated by fiancee Jennifer (Samantha Mathis, not given much to work with).

But things change with the arrival of new hire Rick (Milo Ventimiglia, “Heroes”). He’s a brashly confident alpha dog and party monster who throws endless verbal punches, then covers each jab with a questionably sincere, “Just kidding.”

Rick encourages John to stop letting “anyone push you around,” with unfortunate consequences. Is this just Rick’s underhanded way of usurping his rival’s position? As written and played, Rick is so nakedly devious, there’s little question of the answer. Meanwhile, Coiro makes John so soft, spacy and easily snowed from the start that it’s hard to believe he’d climb a steep corporate ladder in the first place. Nor is mentioning that he takes meds for “hyper-anxiety” enough to convince us he’s unstable or has enough repressed rage to melt down as he does, abruptly turning paranoid, violent and delusional. Pic conveys this disintegration via jarring bursts of image and audio that soon seem more irksome than evocative.

Vieluf is presumably responsible in part for this strategy, since “Groovy” is the name of both the credited co-editor and his offscreen cat. He also wrote the numerous tortured synth tracks played by (one-man?) band Which, adding more aesthetic hammering to a film that instead needed more subtlety and depth — particularly to render its cryptic ending provocative rather than just unsatisfying. Nor does the story work as a metaphor for America’s recent ails, despite heavy-handed cutaways to TV headlines.

Yet even if “Order” never quite works in narrative or psychological terms, Vieluf displays enough assurance with cast, pacing and tech/design aspects to make this a competently pro debut.

Popular on Variety

Order of Chaos

Production: A Cinema Epoch release of a Ten/Four Pictures presentation. Produced by Gil Cates Jr. and Caitlin Murney. Executive producers, Rod Grant Kagan, Richard Rotzang, Amir R. Kashani. Directed, written by Vincent Vieluf.

Crew: Camera (color, HD), Thomas M. Harting; editors, Groovy, Jennifer Mayer; music, Which; music supervisor, Mason Cooper; production designer, Kirsten Oglesby; art director, Heather Ogelsby; costume designer, Amanda Riley; sound (Dolby Digital), Hilary Stewart, Jeremy Fraye; supervising sound editor/designer, Sean Gray; assistant director, Zack Keyworth; casting, Riley. Reviewed on DVD, San Francisco, Feb. 9, 2010. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 88 MIN.

With: With: Rhys Coiro, Milo Ventimiglia, Samantha Mathis, Susan Ward, Maggie Kiley, Chip Jolsen, Anna Campbell, Mimi Rogers.

More Film

  • Paul Downs Colaizzo

    'Perfect Nanny' Movie Adaptation Taps 'Brittany Runs a Marathon' Director (EXCLUSIVE)

    Leila Slimani’s critically acclaimed, international bestseller “The Perfect Nanny” — aka “Chanson Douce” — is coming to the big screen. Legendary has closed a deal for Paul Downs Colaizzo to adapt and direct the English-language adaptation. Legendary will produce the pic alongside Pascal Caucheteux of Why Not Productions and Philippe Godeau of Pan-Européenne. The story [...]

  • Sterling K. BrownVariety and Women in

    Sterling K. Brown to Narrate Disney Plus Documentary 'One Day at Disney' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Sterling K. Brown is set to lend his voice to the upcoming Disney Plus feature documentary “One Day at Disney,” Variety has learned exclusively. “One Day at Disney” will highlight the people who work on some of Disney’s most beloved stories. The film will highlight 10 specific people and their role at Disney through the lens [...]

  • Mehrdad Oskouei on IDFA Opener ‘Sunless

    Mehrdad Oskouei on IDFA Opener ‘Sunless Shadows’: 'Giving a Voice to Voiceless People'

    Documentary film festival IDFA opened Wednesday with Iranian director Mehrdad Oskouei’s “Sunless Shadows,” the latest in a series of films about incarcerated teens in his homeland. Developed with help from the IDFA Bertha Fund, the film takes viewers inside an Iranian juvenile detention center, where a group of underage girls are serving time for very [...]

  • Stephen Curry John Legend

    Stephen Curry, John Legend Team on Sports Drama 'Signing Day' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Stephen Curry’s Unanimous Media production banner, John Legend’s Get Lifted Film Co. and Sony Pictures are teaming up for the sports drama “Signing Day.” The project, which has tapped screenwriter Adam Hoff, marks one of the first films to be put into development under the NBA superstar’s first-look deal with the studio, which he signed [...]

  • The Banker

    Apple Pulls 'The Banker' as AFI Fest Closing Night Film

    In a last-minute decision, Apple has canceled a planned gala screening of “The Banker,” one of the tech company’s flagship original films that was meant to close AFI Fest on Thursday in Hollywood. Netflix has stepped in and will screen Noah Baumbach’s acclaimed “Marriage Story” in its place. “We purchased ‘The Banker’ earlier this year [...]

  • 'Cats' Will Be Done in Time

    'Cats' Will Compete for Golden Globes After All (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Cats,” one of the most puzzling offerings of this holiday movie season, will likely be competing for the Golden Globes after all. Earlier reports had suggested that the film based on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1981 musical about Jellicle cats would not be vying for end-of-year awards because it isn’t done yet. But sources tell Variety [...]

  • Nederland, Amsterdam, 20-11-2019-Opening Night in CarrÈ

    Gender Parity, Inclusion and Young Talent Take Center Stage at IDFA Opening

    The 32nd International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) opened Wednesday with gender parity, inclusion, and young talent front and center. Twenty-one year-old Canadian-Vietnamese director Carol Nguyen — whose short “No Crying at the Dinner Table” screens at the festival — kicked off the evening, reflecting IDFA’s commitment to young talent and women filmmakers. Nguyen said [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content